Mayor Jim Gray says the goal is to make Lexington the next great American city. On Tuesday, Gray talked about how to achieve that goal when he outlined the city's proposed budget.
Mayor Gray emphasized public safety as his top priority. He pointed out the need for financial discipline and what he described as pushing for reasonable union contracts.
More than half of the General Fund budget goes to public safety. In fact, the amount is 55% of the budget, a full 10% more than ten years ago.
The budget includes two new police classes and two fire classes. The mayor said there is some funding for new positions, but the focus is on keeping pace with retirements and attrition.
Mayor Gray emphasized job creation as another top priority, but warned the city must remain cautiously optimistic during a slow economic recovery.
"Our city's General Fund budget is directly tied to our city's economy. It's pretty simple: When employment goes up, so do our revenues. When employment goes down, so do our revenues," said Gray.
In addition to other public safety funding, the mayor announced the investment of $800,000 for a new Emergency Operations Center that will receive federal dollars.
Another key project for the city is the Rupp Arena, arts and entertainment district, which will receive $1.25 million in funding, including state dollars.